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Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:23

Taking The Leap

ShannonFricke Madison_72

I'm lucky to be surrounded by a lot of women in my life... Women of all sorts.... Young, old, mothers, daughters, sisters, careerists, creatives, homemakers, tall, short, blonde, brunette... And for every woman that I meet, in whatever shape or size - I come away from the experience learning something... Of being inspired in some way... You see, every woman has a tale to tell. The tale of love, of pain, of joy, of tears, of adventure, of longing, of hope, of dreams... Women are inspiring - the way we wear our lives so close to the skin. This is what makes us who we are. This is what makes us unique.

I'm lucky in the work that I do - that I hear the unique stories of women on a daily basis. The workshops that I run give me an insiders view into what drives us as a collective - and what inhibits us. What are our most common fears. And what's stopping us from moving ahead in our lives and inparticular, our careers... Last week, I was lucky to meet so many gorgeous women who came to Adairs for the book signings. Each woman told me her story. Of course, the series of events were different for every one. But there was a thread of similarity that underpinned every tale. That similarity was, in fact, a fear. The fear of taking the leap. 

It was Kylie (yes, Kylie, this is for you!) - whom I met last week at a signing - that laid it out so beautifully. I mother with young children, Kylie has spent the last few years dabbling in painting, in sewing and a little interior design. She's a creative woman. A woman who loves and who needs to express her true self on a daily basis - and uses these mediums as her way of finding her daily creative. But Kylie is at a crossroads. The kids are growing up. She senses that they have edged a little closer to living their own lives. And the time has come to 'do' something with her talents. She came to me to find some clarity on how she may be able to move forward. What could she do with these skills that she's accrued? What does she really have to offer? Is it really possible to make money from a creative career? These questions keep spinning around in her head, so much so, that she finds she spends day after day walking around in a metaphorical circle! Until, the thought of it all becomes too much and she retreats back into her regular routine - with a fear that she might never work it out... From there, a crisis of confidence ensues - she contemplates giving it all up. And the cycle begins again.

Ring a bell anyone? The story of Kylie is the story of so many of us. It seems that we women are all underpinned with a similar tale to tell.  How do we turn what we love to do creatively, into what we love to do for a living. And more importantly, how do we build our confidence and push through our fears...

My advice to Kylie was simple. She needed to take a leap of faith. And to take that leap of faith - she needed to change her internal dialogue. So many women are scared to take the leap of faith - trusting their talents and backing themselves 100%. I don't know what the barrier is for us. Perhaps it's education. Perhaps it's upbringing. Perhaps it's a mix of a lot of things that holds us back. But when it comes down to it - taking a leap is the only way forward. Whenever I'm at a crossroads - questioning my ability to make something happen - I try and imagine myself at 80 years of age. Looking back over my life. Over the choices that I've made. At the opportunities I didn't take. I know - that at 80 - the mountain will look like a very small molehill - and I'll be kicking myself at not - at the very least - trying to move towards turning my dreams into a reality. The key is understanding this one key point - that every successful creative struggles with their fears. That, although the process becomes easier when you gain more experience and confidence - we still question our abilities. The difference is this. That everyday, regardless of fear - we take a leap of faith - in ourselves. We do it anyway. We throw ourselves out on the metaphorical edge - we expose ourselves to the market. We cross fingers that our decisions are well received. We take the wins. We accept the losses. And we wake to find another day. Hopefully, not too battle scarred! And with a smile...

Today, in your life - take the leap of faith you need to help you move towards realizing your dreams. It can be a small leap (more of a hop perhaps!) - but take action. Imagine yourself at 80. And remember, the motto - no regrets...

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